What I'd like to see for the future of Closing the Gap

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Charlie King
I’m Charlie King, my mother is a Gurindji woman, I live in Darwin. I work for the ABC, I am a sports broadcaster, but a lot of my time is spent working with family violence through the No More campaign, engaging with sporting clubs. If people aren’t healthy with body and mind then it’s really difficult to do work with Aboriginal people. We’re seeing high levels of family violence, and this isn’t unique to Aboriginal people that’s not where the problem only is, it’s right across Australia but certainly in the Aboriginal community it is very, very high. I mean Aboriginal women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised and that’s a worrying thing. So we’re doing a lot more work in those areas and we’re working with a captive audience in many cases, like prisoners. And I can tell you there’s been an increase in women prisoners as well, and these are people who retaliate against family violence. A year ago, six women I met in the Alice Springs prison, I was there a week ago and there were 60 women. So it’s a big problem, unless we can fix that, we often say we can build new houses but if it only makes a place where people can go to get beat up some more then what’s the point? So we still have to deal with all of those things. We know the gaps that are there, we’ve seen them, we live and breathe those. We want our children to live in an Australia where that gap isn’t there and it has been closed significantly. There has been some progress in it, but I think it’s fair to say it’s been fairly disappointing. It’s not an easy area of work, and I am not an expert in Closing the Gap but I know that there’s lots of issues around life expectancy, education, high incarceration rates, all of those things really need to be tackled. I want to see less Aboriginal people incarcerated, I want to see work that keeps people out of that justice system, I want better services for our young people, I want better education opportunities for people, not only to go to school but at the other end of that. I think if we don’t tackle family violence, I don’t know where we will finish up. It can’t continue to climb the way it’s been climbing over the past ten years, we’ve got to somehow turn it around and bring it back down.